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POOTIE TANG

About The Production
From the comedy laboratory of HBO's Emmy Award winning "The Chris Rock Show" a unique new hero is born.  The brainchild of staff writer Louis C.K., Pootie's first appearance was preceded by the usual staff discussions.

 "Louis comes into my office with a script and asks, 'Can you play this guy?'  because that's how we do it on the show," says Lance Crouther, who plays Pootie.  "We walk into each other's offices and say, 'Can you play that?'  He just came up with this bizarre, strange character.  Louis is really good at creating great characters - I just read what the character is."

"Pootie has invented a language and everybody seems to understand," explains Louis C.K. of Pootie's lingo.  "That's the source of it.  That's how the character came into existence."

Costume designer Amanda Sanders created the bizarre look and dress for the character, facilitating writer/comedian Lance Crouther's complete transformation into the new superstar.  "I'm a T-shirt and jeans guy and they wanted me to expose my body," Crouther says modestly.  "I'm like, aw geez, I never get naked in front of my wife!"

Lance has always looked strange.  Not weird in a bad way… you just don't see people like Lance.  That's how Pootie Tang's supposed to look… like Lance.  There's no crazy makeup.  We don't do anything to his hair.  We just put some shades and weird clothes on him."

When Louis C.K. and Lance Crouther first took the character to Chris Rock, they received a firm go-ahead.  "He loves off-the-wall, left field stuff," says C.K.  "He does his own brand of straightforward, insightful material, so he really appreciates other kinds of comedy."

"It's all Louis' idea," says Rock proudly of his show's writer.  "I'm reading it and I'm like, 'Boy, this is weird.  We gave it a shot and it took off from there."

Crouther explains the initial trepidation following Pootie's debut this way:  "I think people were really concerned it wouldn't work.  We figured we'd do it once and that would be the end of it, which would keep to the show's policy of never repeating a sketch character.

"Chris and I started a conversation (on the show) and little by little you realize I'm not speaking in a normal way.  But Chris never comments on that.  And the audience just loved that.  I mean, they just got the joke," recalls Crouther.

"Everybody on the show - and I mean everybody: the executives at HBO - they're baffled," continues Crouther.  "They don't know what this thing is.  They don't understand.  'Well, what is he saying?  What's the language?'"

Who could have envisioned the genesis of a future motion picture? 

But after one appearance Rock knew they had something.  "People started e-mailing and talking about it on the radio," he says.  "We were driving to some concert and suddenly we hear on the radio 'Now, shout out to Pootie Tang.'"

Says David Gale, producer and senior vice president of MTV Films, "We at MTV Films are always looking to break the mold and surprise people with irreverent and unique movies.  When Chris brought us the project, we knew right away that it was unlike anything Hollywood ever put out before.  It is great fun and totally original."

Soon Pootie became a staple of the show in star-driven appearances: a singer promoting a video, an author hawking a book, a candidate running for Congress.

Pootie's momentum peaked in a hilarious spoof of the E! True Hollywood Story.  The sketch depicted Pootie as a classic man-overcoming-

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